Birds, Cheetahs, and Curly Bird the Turaco: Talk Show #20 | Summary and Q&A

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October 8, 2013
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Birds, Cheetahs, and Curly Bird the Turaco: Talk Show #20

TL;DR

An evolutionary biologist discusses the evolution of birds and bird flight, using modern birds and baby birds as models to understand the behaviors and characteristics of early birds and dinosaurs.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does studying baby birds help us understand early birds and dinosaurs?

Baby birds provide a good model for how early birds may have looked and acted. By observing their behaviors and characteristics, we can make educated guesses about the behaviors and characteristics of early birds and dinosaurs.

Q: How do scientists determine what ancient birds looked like?

Scientists study fossils to gather information about ancient birds' bones and feathers. By comparing these fossils to modern birds with similar forms and behaviors, they can make hypotheses about how these ancient birds may have appeared and behaved.

Q: Why were feathers initially not included in depictions of dinosaurs in movies like Jurassic Park?

At the time when Jurassic Park was made, scientists were not certain that dinosaurs had feathers. However, recent discoveries have confirmed that many dinosaurs were indeed feathered, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

Q: What is the significance of the newly discovered fossil for understanding bird evolution?

The newly discovered fossil, which is slightly older than the archaeopteryx, provides more evidence for the evolution of birds. It helps scientists piece together the story of how dinosaurs evolved into birds and fills gaps in our understanding of this process.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The biologist conducts research on bird flight and uses baby birds as models for understanding the behaviors of early birds and dinosaurs.

  • By studying bones and feathers from ancient dinosaurs, the biologist makes educated guesses about how natural selection acted on these forms to turn them into modern birds.

  • The biologist discusses the discovery of a new bird fossil and its implications for understanding the evolution of birds.

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